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Robotic Polishing

The key to any smooth finish is to have a smooth surface.

The first step in creating the smooth surface is to prep the wheel with our patented glass bead peening operation. The purpose of this step is to bridge over any porosity on the class A surface of the wheel. Surface smoothness is measured on the Ra scale using a profilometer.

The Ra scale is actually the amount of surface roughness arithmetic average (Roughness Average - the "R" and the "a") as read in micrometers of instrument stylus motion. In most cases the peak to peak surface roughness will be four times the indicated average roughness. A micometer is one millionth of a meter. (.000001). Sometimes the roughness is specified as micro inches, one micro inch is .0254 micrometer. A mirror finish is about 4 Ra. A well lapped and polished surface will be between 16 and 8 Ra.

From the peening operation the wheel is mounted to a 5 axis robot. The robot is programmed to the specific geometry of the wheel. The robot articulates the wheel against a spinning grinding disc to sand the flanges, the sides of the spokes and the tops of the spokes of the wheel.

Wheels are final prepped for copper plating by manually sanding with a circular sanding pad or with conically wound sandpaper (cones). This allows us to get down into deep tight corners the robotically controlled disc cannot.

Copper plating adds a leveling layer to the wheel. We manually buff to a bright finish all those areas deep in the recesses of the wheel. Copper buffing greatly enhances the Ra factor and perfects the surface of the wheel for the final nickel and chrome layers.

Wheels after manual buffing are queued for robotic polishing/buffing. This is the final step of preparation prior to applying the bright decorative chrome layer.

Wheels are mounted on a 5 axis robot and are articulated against a spinning buffing wheel. The buffing wheel is impregnated with a special “Tripoli” buffing compound which creates a bright luster and levels any remaining imperfections.

 

Copper & Chrome Plating

 

Awards

 

Quality and Inspection

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